10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Inspired By Literature

Categories: Lists

Inspiration for music can come from a variety of different sources and the laundry list of books and short stories that have influenced rock bands could fill, well, a library. But while "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Metallica, "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin, and "Frankenstein" by Lenny Kravitz have obvious reference points, here are a few songs you might not have known have roots in the written word.

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8 Best Karaoke Bars in Phoenix

Categories: Lists

Karaoke nights are like eating drunken pizza: inconsistent, pretty cheesy, but when it's on point, you've struck gold.

These nights are somewhat of an enigma in the nightlife biz. The crowd turnout is usually pretty hit or miss, and it's hard to pinpoint the catalyst for a successful night versus an unsuccessful one.

So how do you define the best? We narrowed down what I thought were the deciding characteristics of a good karaoke bar: entertainment value, the crowd, quality of singers, music selection, sound quality, screen viewability, MC/DJ, props, and instruments

Here are the Valley's best karaoke bars.

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Most Influential Arizona Punk Rock Records: #1 -- The Consumers, All My Friends Are Dead

Categories: Lists

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Dear Readers,

When I initially pitched the idea of doing a list of 10 local records I found to be hugely influential, I had no idea where the road would lead or what I would find when I traveled it. The journey has been enlightening, fairly difficult, and, more than anything, it has been a huge gift to my own soul, and hopefully some of yours, to hear and read the stories of how these records came to exist. The bands have been great to work with and, for the most part, have seemed genuinely happy to share their stories. Without the help, though, of Dan Clark and Arthur Shane, this would have been much more difficult to undertake, so I would like to thank both of them from the bottom of my blackened heart.

Music, at least for me, is as much about discovery as it is creation. From the work of the Zany Guys to the Consumers, who I will profile in this final piece, there is still so much to discover, so much to be inspired by, and so much to celebrate. I know I've only scratched the surface on Arizona's incredible music scene and, more than anything, I look forward to the next batch of influential bands and records to write about as there is plenty out there from which to choose.


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Most Influential Arizona Punk Rock Records: #2 -- Junior Achievement's Fade to Black

Categories: Lists

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There was never any question about what Jon Yousko was singing in a Junior Achievement song. Yousko's perfectly enunciated lyrics weaved intoxicating tales over his bandmates' equally concussive riffage, and it was good. Goddamn, it was good.

From the opening riff of "Dr. Cutthroat's Revenge," which kicks off the stellar and highly influential (at least locally), album Fade to Black, the listener is pulled into Junior Achievement's world, and there is "no turning back," which Yousko reminds us in "Acid Attack" a few songs later. Fade to Black probably kicked off as many bands around town as any other local record due to its potent combination of punk, thrash, and rock and roll. There was a little something for everyone, as Yousko and his bandmates -- bassist Todd Joseph, guitarist Steve Marinick, and drummer Scott Chazan set the bar high -- but also created a fantastic blueprint for how to combine punk aesthetics with well-crafted songwriting.


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The Phoenix Music Scene Bucket List

Categories: Lists, Local Wire

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Melissa Fossum
A scene from a Sleigh Bells concert at Crescent Ballroom, one of the best music venues in Phoenix.

You know, this city gets a lot of hate.

And it's not just from the outside, either. Recent transplants to Phoenix notice a trend when talking to the residents about their new home. The people who most often ask why a new resident would ever think to move here? Or who constantly pose the questions about "have you been through a summer yet?" when they find out a transplant likes it here? Usually natives.

Maybe it's because of this state's reputation as a backwater, extreme-right breeding ground for anti-immigrant legislation and hardline conservatives like Barry Goldwater that fosters a sort of self-hate among those who grew up here.

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8 Best Metal Concerts in February in Phoenix

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Jim Louvau
Marilyn Manson has a new album out, and he's coming to town to promote it.

The start of February made it one of the busiest, most exciting months of 2015 in the Valley of the Sun. More than a million extra people crowded into town for the Phoenix Open, the Superbowl, or the fact that they're just snowbirds. Clearly cause for shots of whiskey and heavy metal. Lucky for all us metalheads, the heavy metal scene isn't resting on its laurels, even with all the other heavy excitement, traffic, and rain around town.

Don't let that keep you indoors, though. There are a ton of great shows around town, which is why we compiled a monthly list of the best metal and hard rock concerts happening at venues around the Valley during the month of February.

There's local EP release bashes, legends like Napalm Death and Marilyn Manson, and even a show by metal guitarist John 5 on Valentine's Day. I know where I'll be pre-gaming before the strip club.

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20 EDM Songs We Don't Want to Hear in 2015

Categories: EDM, Lists

Sometimes songs are like a hit TV show. Let's use Dexter for example, since I really liked Dexter.

Everyone would have been satisfied if it would have ended at season five or six, after the Trinity killer, but no. They had to carry it out to eight seasons that slowly digressed to a point of incest and lumberjacks -- da fuck.

Sometimes music, specifically electronic music suffers the same tragedy. Everyone is so into a hit track when it comes out, that every DJ plays it, and plays it, and plays it....

Not that I have anything personal against any of the songs on this list, they have just drunkenly smashed my ears to the point that I don't feel anything for them anymore. It's not them, it's me.

With all the subgenres -- Chicago house, house, deep house tropical house, electro house, progressive house -- and innovation happening in dance music, there is really no excuse to keep playing the same music anymore. So let sleeping dogs lie, and let's all move on from these festival and club bangers in 2015.

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Most Influential Arizona Punk Rock Records: #3 -- The Feederz' Jesus

Categories: Lists

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Consider this question: Are you an Earwig?

Let the idea roll around on your brain for a minute. Longtime Phoenicians know the bug well, even if they haven't seen one for a while. Are you a human equivalent? Are you even a 10th earwig?

More than likely, this is an important distinction to make, especially if you are to interact with Frank Discussion, who played guitar and sang lead vocals for The Feederz during the entirety of their career. Discussion doesn't care for earwigs, human or otherwise, and the inspiration for the title track of their influential
Jesus came from walking around the Arizona State University campus one day in the late '70s with a used Kotex hanging out of his mouth.


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Most Influential Arizona Punk Records -- #4, JFA, Valley of the Yakes

Categories: Lists

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Jodie Foster's Army (JFA) recorded Valley of the Yakes and broke the mold for anyone else coming after them.

Truly.

Valley of the Yakes easily could be the most influential record on this list except for one thing: Nobody else could have recorded it.

There was no other band on the planet at the time who could have matched JFA's intensity, its blend of influences, and the sheer skate-punk genius the group created with Sandy Lamont at Phoenix's Desert Sounds, on Placebo Records' dime. Because of this, there have been few bands who have even tried to emulate JFA's unique style and sound, unlike many of its equally famous punk rock peers around the world.


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The 10 Best Frontmen and Frontwomen in Phoenix Right Now

Categories: Lists, Local Wire

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Jeff Moses
Aydin Immortal of Wolvves

The biggest impression a band leaves usually comes from the lead singer. After all, we all (well, most of us) speak English, but we don't all play music. So understanding and connecting with lyrics and the expressive range of the human voice is usually the easiest thing for a musical layman to do.

But some lead singers build a connection with the audience that is bigger than just words and notes, and they become more than just the vocalist. It is those people we are celebrating with this list. Phoenix has many talented songwriters and singers, but this list is about the ones who bring a little something extra. These are the 10 best front people in Phoenix right now.

Abe Gil - Treasure MammaL
Treasure MammaL is pretty much the weirdest band in town, and all the weirdness starts with their martian of a frontman Abe Gil. For context on how strange Gil is, he once defeated Wayne Coyne in an Instagram battle for weirdness supremacy. In his signature spandex suit, Gil transcends stages, bringing the out-of-control antics that he is known for right into the audiences face. There is no single performer in town better at getting the audience off their ass and on to the dance floor than Gil, though he does usually have help from his spandex-clad harem of backup dancers. He's the type of guy that the most interesting man in the world should aspire to be, on and off stage. But when he's on stage, Gil just exudes a certain type of electricity and excitement that absolutely cannot be ignored. He's one of the best performers in town because of how genuine he truly is about everyone at the show having a good time, while still maintaining an air of sarcasm around everything his band does.


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